The Xenia, Galina, Coinkydink

Years ago, on a Sunday evening, I received a phone all from a man we’ll call “Tim.” At the time, there was a parishioner in our little Mission – we’ll call her “Sherry.”

The caller said, “Pastor Huneycutt? This is Tim.”

Thinking I knew the man to be the Protestant man named “Tim” who was married to the newly Orthodox parishioner, “Sherry” – I said: “Hello, Tim. How are you?”

He said, “Well, not too good Pastor … she’s gone.”

Again, believing I knew those concerned, I said: “Sherry left you?”

(When I get to the punch line here, you won’t believe me … but) He said, “Yes, we had an argument … it got out of hand, and she left.”

So, I started struggling with my words, trying to say the right things … and, at that point, he said: “Hey, is this Pastor Huneycutt of Goose Creek Baptist Church?”

I said, “No, I’m sorry. I’m an Orthodox priest.”

He apologized; we shared an uncomfortable laugh, and hung up.

I must inform you, I soon learned, that there was indeed a Baptist pastor with the last name “Huneycutt” living in our area. And – what a coincidence! – He had a married couple in his parish with the same names as some of mine.

Now, here’s where the story gets even weirder.

In those days, I regularly volunteered at a local hospital, and about a year or so later … on a whim, totally random – for some strange reason – I tried to make conversation with a family that was gathered around the room of a man who was deathly ill.

They were not Orthodox, but as a volunteer chaplain I visited everyone.

Anyway – for the first time since it had happened, I related that story of the erroneous phone call. I noticed as I talked that they were not amused. So, if memory serves me, I threw in some nervous laughter myself.

When I finished, someone said: “She just left.”

“Who just left?” I asked.

They said: “Sherry. She’ll be back later, but she had to step out for a while.”

I looked at the man lying there, looked back at my list … and, sure enough, his name was “Tim.”

Coincidence – pure and random. I’ve found no other way to parse it, all these years since.

Sometimes, things just happen that, well, surprise and amaze us by their timing.

Like recently, I was on vacation with the family on the coast of South Carolina. At the risk of causing scandal here – forgive me …

The Orthodixie Podcast on Ancient Faith Radio.

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